Zambian Air Force

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Zambian Air Force
Roundel of Zambia.svg
Air Force roundel
Active 1968 - present
Country Zambia
Branch Air force
Garrison/HQ Lusaka
Erick Mwaba Chimese[1]
Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha
Ensign Air Force Ensign of Zambia.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack MiG-21
Bomber MiG-19
Fighter MiG-21MF
Trainer Aermacchi SF.260, Hongdu K-8 Karakorum
Transport Antonov An-26, Harbin Y-12, Xian MA60

The Zambian Air Force (ZAF) is the air force of Zambia and the air operations element of the Zambian Defence Force. Following the creation of the Republic of Zambia in 1964, the former Northern Rhodesian Air Wing was renamed as the Zambia Air Wing which lasted until 1968. The Zambian Air Force was then established.[2]

The primary missions of the Air Force are to defend Zambia's borders and protect its airspace. In addition, it provides various forms of air support to other government departments. It also flies reconnaissance, trooping and transport missions for the police and airlifts medical supplies and personnel to inaccessible areas. Finally, the organisation provides emergency transport whenever needed. One of the more recent relief operations mounted by the Air Arm occurred in early 2007, when it came to the aid of flood victims in the North-Western Province.

The IISS Military Balance 2013 lists the following aircraft, all with 'very low serviceability':[3]


Current inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-21 Soviet Union fighter 10[4] MiG-21-2000[5]
Shenyang J-6 People's Republic of China light attack F-6A 8[4] licensed built MiG-19
Dornier Do 28 Germany transport 5[4]
Xian MA60 China utility transport 1[4]
Harbin Y-12 China transport 8[4]
Bell 205 United States utility 12[4]
Bell 206 United States utility 2[4]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility Mi-171 4[4]
Harbin Z-9 China utility 7[4] licensed built Eurocopter AS365
Trainer Aircraft
Shenyang J-6 People's Republic of China jet trainer FT-6 2[4]
Hongdu JL-8 China jet trainer K-8 16[4]
SF.260TW Italy trainer 9 3 on order[4]
Hongdu L-15 China jet trainer 2 4 on order[4]

Few details are available on force deployment, but combat elements are understood to be located at Lusaka (K-8), Mbala (F-6) and Mumbwa (MiG-21), with the small fleet of transport aircraft and utility helicopters also reportedly stationed at Lusaka.[6]

Air Force commanders

  • 1972 to 1976 Lieutenant General P. D. Zuze
  • 1980 Major General C. Kabwe
  • 1991 to 1997 Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha[7]
  • 1997 to 2001 Lieutenant General Sande Kayumba
  • 2002 to 2006 Lieutenant General Christopher Singogo[8]
  • 2006 to 2010 Lieutenant General Samuel Mapala[8][9]
  • 2010 to 2011 Major General Andrew Sakala[9][10]
  • 2011 to present Lieutenant General Eric Chimese[1]


  1. ^ a b "President Sata Suspends Two Contracts". Truly Zambian. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ IISS Military Balance 2013, 539.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "World Air Forces 2017". Flightglobal Insight. 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "Mig21 in Service". 
  6. ^ "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's - IHS". 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "People's Daily Online -- Zambian president fires air force commander". 
  9. ^ a b "Zambia : President Banda retires top defense Chiefs(corrected)". 
  10. ^
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